I cannot settle to the work today.
The Fears have me by the throat.
Fear of Not Enough –
not enough money
not enough talent
not enough brains to save
myself from drowning
from the voices that cry out again and again and again
that I am not
I cannot settle to the work today
but Desire has me by the heart
and she whispers a question,
“Good enough for what?
To breathe this soft air, like the old man in the sea?”
Yesterday, I sat on the sun hot shore drawing pictures in my book of people selling oysters from wheelbarrows, offering silver and wooden carvings, woven bracelets, paintings and clothes, sticks of candied apples and mangoes and shrimp and colourful kites shaped like parachutes with plastic men dangling from them (so much bigger than the poop-a-troopers my sister and I threw off the garage roof at the farm when I was ten). Down the beach, I noticed people walking into the water. The waves were high and loud. They walked in fully clothed. A man in a red plaid shirt and dark shorts. A woman in yellow. Two young boys joined them. They lifted the children above the swells until the boys learned to jump the waves and ride them back to shore.
I kept a running tally in my book as I drew. 2 people, 4, 7.
Now there are eleven.
There are twenty-four people! All fully clothed, standing in groups – ankle deep, knee deep, thigh.
I set aside my book to watch them laughing and shrieking at the cold and chatting in Spanish.
Out with the farthest group, I notice an older man. His grey hair glints in the sun and I see that the guy in the plaid shirt and another man are holding him and, like the couple lifted their boys, these men lift the old man as the waves crest around their chests.
Then the old man stands on his own, knees bent and taking a small jump as each wave comes. The men give him space, but stand by to steady him as he lands. I can’t hear their voices over the crash of the surf, but their joy is clear.
The old man waded back into the shallows on his skinny old man legs, and his family cheered him as he passed. The women reaching out to him. The children taking his hand and walking alongside him to the shore.
And that old man’s face held so much joy that it cracked my heart and let me remember—that these things are free.
The joy in the rushing water.
The solid support of the earth.
The frigate birds riding the breeze.
The curious dog who lay near me on the sand.
The feeling of sun on my skin and the taste of salt
on my lips.
I cannot settle to the work today, and yet—
these words flow out onto the page
and the waves hit the shore
and this soft air
is ours for the taking.
~ La Penita Jaltemba 2.16.17
I find myself in a strange, disconnected, space tonight. I did not sleep well (meaning AT ALL) last night. I fell into some kind of awful sleep coma from about 8am til 11:30 and emerged from it wishing that I had just gotten out of bed at 4:15 am when I was wide awake and not feeling like some sort of swamp beast.
That said, I really wanted to drop a wee line to thank you for hanging out with me in 2016. What a year, what a year, what a year…. And how very fast they fly by me.
I want to say, “May 2017 be a fabulous year for you!” And I do hope that. But the hype the hype the hype of all the “make this your BEST year YET!” and alla that…well… in all honesty I just find it bloody exhausting.
My aim for 2017, if I even have an aim other than showing up as honestly and truthfully as I can to each moment, is to Keep It Simple.
To continue the practices that I know make me feel better. That thing I like to call “making AMESS” each day.
I want, very much, to catch myself when I begin to feel the urge to cram more…whatever… into my brain. To add another “practice” that I think will somehow make me more worthy of the air I breathe. To keep click click clicking in search of…what the hell am I even searching for? Connection, I believe. Wisdom.
Well, here’s to less click clicking for me and more… picking up the phone or gathering with people face to face.
To more meals shared, more walks taken and talks had.
To more time spent offline and unplugged – be it time alone or with friends.
And THAT said – here’s a few online treasures I’ve found this year that I’d like to share with you (in no particular order):
And finally – this wonderful musician I discovered on the Insight Timer app and now can not get enough of. I love listening to his stuff while I sit or while I soak in the bath. Ahhhh…. especially good with headphones.
You can find out more about Jonathan (Jon) Adams and his lovely sound work over at http://sonicyogi.blogspot.ca
Please feel free to share any treasures you may have found this year with me down in the comment section, or by email, or hell, drop me an old school letter. I love that.
Sending out bright sparkly wishes for peace and goodwill.
Happy New Year to one and all.
Go easy ~p
Time to wrap up this year’s adventure in NaNoLand. It was a good month. An interesting month.
As I read over the posts I made in November I kept dipping back into the work I did on that specific day—seeking both things I want to remember/hold on to for myself and things that may, one day, be turned into work that I could share with the world.
It was interesting to follow my trajectory from…. reaching toward creating pieces that I might be able to “turn into something to send out into the world” meaning short stories or even poems, towards something more… well, heck…. more like what I REALLY do everyday in my ongoing writing practice which is…some of that “outward focussed” work, but mostly more of simply… continuing to explore questions, often spiritual questions, as they arise for me each day.
I decided to gather some things from this month’s meanderings into a new Scrivener project. As I was about to create a whole new project, I paused and decided to do a search of my hard-drive for already existing projects. I found something called A Strange Notebook – it was created back in April of 2016 and I had no memory of creating it.
It held one 200 word piece that I do remember writing, but that I had lost in the MASS of words words words I write every day.
So many words.
And so strong the yearning to offer up… just one small, beautiful, thing. A thing that can be held in the hand. Held in the heart.
I had a lovely experience / revelation / reminder of the power of something this week.
I met a friend for tea (or water and a pop actually) and amidst our “catching ups” we got to talking about poetry. I spoke of my love of what I see as “sacred” poetry — the works of Mary Oliver, Rumi, Leonard Cohen. I began to tell her/recite Oliver’s poem Wild Geese. I didn’t make it all the way through before my memory failed, but oh oh oh there was such a connection between us as I spoke those words. My voice slipped down into my belly. Our eyes really LOOKED into each other. Her face glowed as she received the words. It was good. I had forgotten that. The power of words carried on the breath – person to person, soul to soul.
I am hungry to return to this way of expressing myself.
I think back to to my time on stage, and especially to the performing/offering up of my two one-woman shows (barefoot and OK: The Passage of Georgia O’Keeffe). I remember I remember I remember the feeling of doing those shows and the conversations I had with people after each performance.
I remember the power of being in the audience for live theatre and storytelling events.
And I have to smile because… next Friday, December 9th, I will be enjoying time with a friend and we will be spending the entire day in the company of Storytellers.
Isn’t that amazing?
And as I went forth seeking info on this Storycare Symposium, I stumbled upon some information on the 2017 Toronto Storytelling Festival — where my friend will be one of the featured Tellers. And… I feel such a call to attend this year.
I hesitated to register. Money. Almost always it is about money when I hold back on reaching out and grabbing this sort of experience. I spoke with the Raggedy Man and then we spoke of it again, and yet again. This morning, he said, “You need to just do it. Register. Go. You need to do this.”
And so, I’m going to do it.
I would like to say:
As soon as I finish this post, I am going to go and sign up for a three day intensive Story Camp and get a pass to the Festival as a whole.
But it looks like the site is still under-construction, so I will have to hold off until the site is up and running.
This feels good. It feels like a whole new world to explore and it feels like coming home.
I find myself excited about the coming months. About what they will hold for all of us as we move through the world. There is so much scary out there, we need to hold to the good that we create ourselves and that we see others creating.
We each need to tend our own patch with open hearts and generous spirits.
We need to listen to each other.
I need to listen.
And we need to speak/write/create and share when we find a truth.
We need to share our stories – soul to soul.
Links to upcoming Storytelling fun in Toronto:
Storycare Symposium 2016: http://storytellingtoronto.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2016-Storycare-Symposium-Programme.pdf
Toronto Storytelling Festival 2017: http://www.torontostorytellingfestival.ca/
Sending out wishes for Happy Holidays to one and all and… here’s something lovely that warms my heart. Five novels are on sale this week over at Thistledown Press and sweet Bean is included in the mix.
Tis an honour to be keeping company with these wonderful authors and their work.
Here’s the covers to tempt you.
Click on the cover to go directly to the sales page and learn more about the book and the author.
They are all on sale for 30% off this week!
go easy ~p
Dark moon today…and this year’s adventure in NaNoLand is winding down.
I’ve crossed the “finish line” of 50,000 words written.
Tomorrow brings a fresh new moon and I will return to my regular writing practice.
I stumbled on this poem a few days ago and have been carrying it around with me.
All the True Vows
by David Whyte
All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.
There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.
Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.
Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.
Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen
nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.
By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.
Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,
it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.
in this place
no one can hear you
and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,
that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.
I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.
Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
for the first time
after all these years
in my own voice,
before it was too late
to turn my face again.
“All the True Vows” from The House of Belonging by David Whyte. Copyright © 1997, 2004 by David Whyte.
A wonderful gathering of Sacred Poetry: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/index.html
I will take some time today to flip back through the posts I’ve made this month and all the words the words the words captured on this month long trek.
It’s been fun to come here to the blog almost every day with some small offering.
Thanks for keeping me company.
go easy ~p
The past few days I have been…noting… jotting down my thoughts on this and that…or tracing out quotes from the various books I am reading all at once this week.
Today, I veered off after an image that came to me this morning at The Oasis.
Jen asked us to invite something else into the room. Something we have been pushing down, ignoring, “Let it come in the door and take a shape and…”
And I was off and scribbling….
My death slopes into the room and leans back in the shadows like a cowboy
and it isn’t fear or regret I feel
A pulse of of do more do more do more
Of waste less time zings through me
But this lanky cowboy, Death, just spreads his hands wide and shrugs.
And the truer feeling, clearer seeing, lands.
Freedom to speak what I need to speak and do what I need to do because, yes, of course,
we are all dying
And I think back on something a Wise Woman told me,
When we have wisdom, it needs attention, it needs welcoming and then it needs honouring through action.
I see you, cowboy, and what you bring with that crooked grin of yours.
I welcome your sunsoaked eyes and dusty hands that smell of sage and red-rock desert.
I take a breath, close the laptop and go into the kitchen
To drink my coffee with my sweet Raggedy Man before he heads into town.
Because that is the action called for.
The rest can wait.
So it goes.
Have a good weekend, all.
Sending out extra blessings to my American pals who are gathering for Thanksgiving this weekend.
This morning, I read a blog post that cracked my heart open.
Loosing faith by Bethani Jade– On her Self Study blog.
In the comments/ Reply section… I wrote:
Walking with you.
I began a new file today on my typer-machine. Under Spirit — Cries of/from the Heart.
I save your words as the first entry.
I hesitate to say “thank you” or to “like” this post. I want a different button to press.
I am grateful for your words.
I love that the post is titled Loosing faith… not losing, though there is that as well.
The despair of losing faith. The hope of loosing faith.
All in one. Brilliant.
In the sending forth, there is a blessing offered up.
I believe that. Our creations, whatever they are, spark for someone.
Oh the ways we save our own lives.
I am drawn to Bethani’s post, because I need it. We all so desperately need the honesty and truth of it.
For me, today’s spark lit around what Bethani says about telling others… About talking to others when thoughts of suicide or desperation arise within us and how “I can see my weight transfer from my mind to yours, but I am no lighter for it, and again I am afraid.”
I want to write something for Bethani and for all of us who find ourselves reaching for “the things that help.”
I try to reach for something in the scribble book….
You say, I can see my weight transfer from my mind to yours, but I am no lighter for it, and again I am afraid. And that is the biggest ache for me. That you feel no lighter.
That I, when I am in that dark-dog place, feel the same. And how that knowledge makes me clamp down, clam up, hide.
And how I know that when a friend feels this despair, I want them to come to my house and lay it out. I want to share it, lift the weight somehow. Even though I know it doesn’t really work like that.
I know it doesn’t lift the weight. But I want to… try.
I want to make them soup and tea and go for a walk by the river and cuddle up to watch a teary hilarious movie. I want to read them a poem.
I want, so much, to write you a poem that you can fold up and carry in your wallet, tuck inside your memory, like a talisman.
Words to beat back the dark.
A spell… a casting… a circle of …. light. Of warmth. Of cell vibrating love.
Hold this word, darling, like a pebble in your mouth.
Run your tongue around the d and g, slip smooth along the a.
Let it carry your breath warm into your body.
Let it run like water cool.
Any word will work.
To pebble-skip across the pool of being
And wake you.
I like that.
It isn’t like, the greatest poem ever written. It may not even be a poem for true for true. But whatever it is… I like the shape of it.
I need to work on poems. On finding the shortest way to something. The keenest edge. The knife that cuts through the dregg-o dread-o.
Clumsy as it is, I offer it up.
To Bethani and to you.
i dreamed of a 70s kitchen and these tv trays…
there was an orange fireplace and
i brought the dream
and the fireplace
to nanowrimo land.
so it goes~p
Today’s post features a picture of me from the way-back. The photo was taken by my friend Rick and used in the promotion of my one woman show barefoot.
The play is… well… it’s sort of a journey though one woman’s healing from Child Sexual Abuse. Fun, right? It was actually … in parts. I could always tell who the survivors were in the crowd, because they were the ones laughing. Somethings are only funny from the other side.
Today at the Oasis, one of the writing prompts was…
What I am brave enough to feel these days…
And here’s what I wrote….
I am brave enough to feel the helplessness, the hopelessness that waves over me. Knowing that it shall pass.
I am brave enough to feel this call towards creating art — even though I feel like I never actually DO, that these notebooks are not art, not ART at least.
I am brave enough to feel the challenge from artists like Patti Smith and Georgia O’Keefe to… “Do the work. Do the work. Do your work.”
Yes. I do I do I do hear you, and I will, I do, I will, I am—doing it.
I am brave enough to feel that I am an artist and that I have something to offer.
I am brave enough to feel that I will find my form, my expression. That the flailing about has been part of it. Part of finding my way. Towards the writing of love letters to the world. To the drawing of maps.
Oh yes please….
Let us do our drawings.
~ our collages.
~ our photography
~ our writing
Let us do it ~ do it ~ do it.
And I am brave enough to post it here because…?
Because I know that you are out there reading this and that you, whoever you are, need to see my flailings and…take heart.
You need to know that you are brave enough to do your work, and to get your work out there, no matter what.
Work on, my loves.
PS: here’s a lil inspiration from Patti Smith (who I am insanely in love with these days). It’s a video of her speaking about Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais in Paris.
At 2:36 she sings the most beautiful little song…. get ready to weep.
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I wish I was born a hundred years ago.